Growing up on a diversified farm in rural Nebraska, I always found myself searching for new things to learn and new opportunities to get involved. Coming to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, in the fall of 2009, created a new challenge that I was unsure that I could handle. Making a move from graduating from a class of 23 students, to a University of over 25,000 students became a huge step in my life. I accepted this challenge and took advantage of every opportunity that became open for me. With this mindset, I applied for, and got accepted into the Pork Mentoring program in February of 2010.
I have grown up around hogs my entire life, and the opportunity to learn more about the Pork Industry excited me. I never knew how beneficial this program would be, nor how it would change who I am for the better. Through this year-long program there are several requirements which need to be met: Four Job Shadows, Four Pork Promotions, Attend the World Pork Expo and State Intern Training, and 20 hours of Community Enrichment (Volunteering). My first thought after hearing the requirements, was that I was a little intimidated. Now, after I have been in the Program for nine months, I am excited to finish the requirements.
Through the job shadows, it opens the door to make new connections along with learn a new branch of the Pork Industry that I am unfamiliar with. My first job shadow, opened my eyes to the veterinarian side of the Pork industry, along with familiarizing me with the sow gestation, and farrowing process. The four Pork industry promotions have increased my confidence in myself as a person, because it has gotten me out among the public, to share with them my passion for the Pork Industry and agriculture.
The trip to the World Pork Expo and State Intern training, has added unforgettable memories to my life. What amazed me most at the World Expo, was how many different ways bacon can be used, especially the Bacon Flavored Ice Cream. The State Intern Training, to me, was very beneficial, in teaching me not only how to better promote Pork but all animal agriculture. Also through the State Intern Training, the class earned the PQA Plus Certification.
Our class is completing most of our volunteering hours at the Clyde Malone Center here in Lincoln. This is an after school program from 3:30 until 5 in the evening for youth who have parents that work until five. Interacting with the youth has helped me realize how I have been so fortunate, and allows me to share my knowledge with them.
I am looking forward to completing the Pork Mentoring Program and discovering more doors to opportunities that open for me.